UFC 225 featured two title fights and several big names, but initial reports regarding its pay-per-view buy rate were still alarmingly low.
Despite an interim welterweight and middleweight championship bouts, UFC 225 reportedly did less than 150,000 PPV buys, however now the Ultimate Fighting Championship is claiming otherwise.
While it’s no secret that recent UFC’s PPVs have taken a huge hit in viewership over the last few years, less than 150,000 buys is still a remarkably low and disappointing figure for the world’s leading MMA promotion. The only other PPVs that do those kind of numbers are reportedly headlined by 125-pound champion and pound-for-pound king Demetrious Johnson, but that’s a conversation for another day.
UFC attorney Hunter Campbell discussed the matter with the LA Times, saying the reports of less than 150,000 purchases for UFC 225 was a “material misrepresentation” of the actual buy rate and short by “something in excess of six figures.” However, Campbell declined to provide a specific amount of PPV buys.
The UFC’s dependence on PPVs sustained them during the dark days of the promotion, before the monumental Fox and ESPN deals and even before Spike. That platform appears to be rapidly losing its relevance, as recent UFC PPVs show declining buy rates and viewership.
A PPV price-hike and an inundation of free UFC events on Fox and Fox Sports 1 have certainly not helped those PPV numbers, either.
And with massive draws like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey currently out of the picture, the UFC has had a difficult time in putting together blockbuster cards.
At this rate, 2018 is beginning to look an awful lot like 2014 for the promotion, which was an all-time low year for UFC PPVs -- before the emergence of Rousey and McGregor and after the likes of Brock Lesnar.
The UFC will look to rebound from 225 with their next offering, which will be another double-title fight card with a rare champion-versus-champion main event between heavyweight kingpin Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. Max Holloway will defend his featherweight title against surging contender Brian Ortega, as well.